‘We’re sorry’: Coles’ gesture after 'frustrating' checkout blunder

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Coles has issued an apology and freebies for customers that were left in the lurch after Friday’s technical glitch that saw the sudden closure of stores across Australia.

On Friday afternoon shoppers in Coles supermarkets everywhere were asked to abandon their trolleys and evacuate the store, leaving customers confused and frustrated.

The supermarket giant later revealed a technical issue with the point of sale system meant all locations were unable to process transactions.

“We were briefly unable to process transactions, which we know would have been frustrating for customers shopping in our stores. We're sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused,” a Coles spokesperson wrote in an email to Flybuys members.

Coles supermarkets closed due to technical issue.
Coles stores were forced to close due to a technical error on Friday. Source: Twitter

Customer complaints flooded the supermarket’s social media pages, with some claiming to have been asked to leave groceries they had already paid for.

“My partner did his weekly food shop this afternoon, he paid for the food just before the whole system crashed,” one said.

“He has proof of purchase through his bank withdrawing the money, but he was not allowed to take the food out of the store because no receipt was printed even though he had proof the bank money was withdrawn. He hasn't been given a refund either.”

Another shopper said being asked to evacuate the store was “alarming”.

“Everyone just got evacuated out of Coles Darwin. Had to leave a full trolley behind,” the shopper said.

“It was a bit of a worry at first as they didn’t say why, but have since heard it was only due to computers/registers being down. Hopefully next time they can ask us to leave in a less alarming manner (not told to evacuate).”

Some said their local store handled the situation well and felt for the staff who were under pressure.

“Just wanted to say your Phillip Island Cowes staff handled the systems going down this afternoon like absolute champions,” one person wrote.

The supermarket said the outage did not affect Coles Online, Coles Express or Coles Liquor and stores are now open and trading.

“Our supermarkets reopened on Friday evening, and the outage did not affect Coles Online, Coles Express or Coles Liquor,” a Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

‘We’re sorry’

To make up for the blunder Coles sent an email titled “We’re sorry” to FlyBuy members offering free home delivery on purchases over $50 and triple Flybuy points.

“As a thank you for the patience shown to our team members while they worked hard to get us back up and running, this weekend all shoppers in Coles supermarkets and Liquorland stores will receive triple Flybuys points on their food, groceries or liquor purchases,” Coles said.

“And to help customers who were unable to complete their shopping in-store, we're offering free home delivery on our online shopping orders of $50 or more until Sunday 18 October.

“We value everyone that shops with us and thank you for bearing with us as we get back up on our feet.”

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